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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 99 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: The importance of play [split from Mainstream]  (Read 13858 times)
jrients
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Posts: 65


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« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2002, 10:56:11 AM »

Quote from: wyrdlyng
I would like to throw out a theory that playing games actually decreases sales of game products.

Any thoughts?


Briefly, if I may:

Most supplements are totally messed up.  If that supplement XYZ doesn't enable your play, then it is a broken supplement.  At least for you.  I don't care how well written or illustrated it is.  If most people will only use supplements if they don't "invalidate" previous play, then supplements which have the ability to do so are inherently flawed.

Most use of supplements is totally messed up.  People have bought into the notion that we _must_ follow the crappy metaplot or that MY campaign is somehow incomplete without THEIR version of realm/faction/class ABC.  What a load of crap.  It took me years of collecting the Mystara supplements for D&D to realize that this idea is crap.  We need as a hobby to unlearn this dependence on the splat.

Sorry if I'm sounding snippy or rantish.  All of the above is my opinion.
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Jeff Rients
b_bankhead
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Posts: 259


« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2002, 10:58:33 AM »

Quote from: Valamir
I can sit down with Avalon Hill's Advanced Civilization and play 8-12 hour marathon sessions of one of the greatest games of all time...but that wasn't enough to keep Avalon Hill in business or keep AH games on the shelf in retail stores.

.


 Ah Civilization.  2 hours into it the village idiot can see who's going to win, and 4 hours later they win.  I never really liked those endless rambling 12 hour rpg sessions, they drag on and become limp and uninspiring after too long. And I can't  play a board wargame for more than about an hour.(never could which is what kept me out of both board and miniatures games for a quarter century)  I am a 'gamer' but I actually find much of the hobby about as amusing as watching paint dry, odd isn't it?  How much of the hobby is represented by me, and how much like valamar?  The problem is the only thing anybody knows about the hobby happens in the shops, and I (and I guess those like me) am  sick of the shops...
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b_bankhead
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Posts: 259


« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2002, 11:06:54 AM »

Quote from: jrients
Most use of supplements is totally messed up.  People have bought into the notion that we _must_ follow the crappy metaplot or that MY campaign is somehow incomplete without THEIR version of realm/faction/class ABC.  What a load of crap.  It took me years of collecting the Mystara supplements for D&D to realize that this idea is crap.  We need as a hobby to unlearn this dependence on the splat.
.


  I know, it's amazing.  I see endless venom being spouted about say WOD metaplots, and then scratch my head and say 'well if you don't like it DON'T USE IT! ",  bingo!, the Zombie look again.  Some people out there seem to believe there is some kind of contractual obligation to kowtow to the metaplots and supplements created by companies even though it says over and over in the very books that they are just guidelines and aids to creativity and the GM is the final word as to what he wants in his campaign.  My perceptions on this are so far apart from these people that I cant even communicate about the issue to them.  What gives?  What kind of person actually has to write in to Dragon magazine to get a ruling on how Phantasmal Force works?
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b_bankhead
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« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2002, 11:32:08 AM »

Quote from: James Holloway

Well, now, to be fair, lots of people play these games. Vampire isn't some game that everybody buys just to read. Tons of games of it get played. The same is certainly true of D&D, and, I imagine of Magic (they play it a lot round here, anyway). Not so sure about Pokemon... I never saw that being played, and I think it's telling that it's the only one of that list of games which was not enduringly popular.

So I agree with you that to be successful, games need to be played, but I suggest that those games are successful for precisely that reason.

- James


  Something about the 'hotness factor' in rpgs seems broken.  I mean look at the the sales of 3ED&D.  Sure they ran out and bought it because a. SOMETHING had to be done about 2nd edition and b. there hasn't been a new edition in almost 15 years.  But after they have bought it then what?  They might play out of the same book for 10 years.  Hell 20 years later there are still 1st edition partisans!  Obviously)hey cant keep selling the GMs guides like hotcakes (despite the mantra that D&D  is the game that brings people into the hobby, migration into this hobby is a trickle. Hell from what I see the game cant even hold its own against Warhammer 40k and the cards, how is it supposed to bring anybody else into gaming?)
Just what does the sales curve on 3eD&D look like.  I can't imagine it doesn't resembe a boom-bust curve.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2002, 11:47:36 AM »

Hi there,

OK, the bile is beginning to appear - which, at this point, for the Infamous Five and the Five-Spawn threads, is what I expected. There are a lot of emotions and tensions underlying the connections among these threads. Sooner or later, they'll appear, and things will get more "feely" around the Forge than usual. This is fine, actually, as long as the context is clear.

So, let's look at this thread specially. It's about the importance of play, especially relative to Publishing. And what's showing up, of course, is that tied to that is the importance of play, if any, to the purchasers of the books. But it's not the 1:1 correspondence that would indicate what we'd all like to see, which is that Product User Demand drives Retail Success drives Publisher Success. It ain't that simple.

b_bankhead's frustrations are consistent with what I perceive across the whole hobby: that the importance of play is mightily fragmented across the customer base, and practically nonexistent upwards through the publication/distribution tiers.

Best,
Ron
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jrients
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« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2002, 02:58:37 PM »

Now that I've settled down a bit from my last post, I'd like to ask some questions.  How important is customer dissatisfaction arising from actual play to sales?

I see 2 basic variants:

1)  Jeff's a lousy GM, so Dave buys the rule book to start his own campaign.

2)  Jeff and Dave are both unhappy with the rules or setting so they buy a different game to play.

Clearly there's plenty of marketing aimed at unhappy players, such as Tasilanta's motto "No elves" or the standard among D&D ripoffs "Now 500 classes!  300 races!  Over ten thousand magic items!"

And there's the purchase of supplements by people actually playing the game.  How much of this behavior is an expression of dissatisfaction as well?  Some people aren't trying to get the next chapter in the metaplot, but are hoping the new supplement will help an ailing game.
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Jeff Rients
Bankuei
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« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2002, 03:11:36 PM »

Something interesting to bring up in the regards to actual play and sales;
RPGs do not work with planned obscelence(sp?) in the way physical items can.

As has been stated, there are hardcore 1st edition D&Der's out there, who will never change.  They have no reason to buy anything else ever again.  Likewise with any satisfied gamer who feels completely and totally satisfied with whatever they have available to them.  Certainly books and dice may wear out, but books can be copied or scanned, and dice take far to long to destroy in order to make much of a profit.

Most real world objects break, wear down, or become incompatible with the network of things they must work with, while rpgs deal with imaginary things.  Imagination doesn't need replacement parts, doesn't get "incompatible" with your new OS, and is adaptable to fit any and all fashions.

I'd have to say, a complete game, that is satisfying, will result in less sales over a long period, not more.  Even more scary to companies seeking profit, is if the "dirty little secret" that anyone can make a roleplaying game got out, that sales would plummet even further.  Of course, the likelyhood of this is about the same as everyone making their own music, own cloths, or growing their own food.

In reality, the fact is, games are supported by actual play, which is a social activity.  D&D blew up with its tournaments, Whitewolf with its live action games.  Both of these are focused around encouraging the social aspect of the games, in order to increase the amount of play, as well as introduce new folks to the games.  

Both also use a form of obscelence with their metaplots or endless supplements of rules or setting in order to provide the illusion that you must stay "up to date" with the game or else become lost.  This idea has been perfected in the Magic/Pokemon collectible card game boom, although anyone can still pull out a set of Alpha cards and have a good time.  The illusion of having to upgrade, update, and supplement a game is where a great deal of the money ends up going, and contributes to the illusion that 20 new classes is really innovative.

I'd say the smartest idea would be to encourage and support an active social group of players, and to focus on that.  Look at the popularity of Amber despite having no new supplements in years.  The second part would be to find products that would cater well to the evolving group, perhaps merchandise, magazines, or other items that aren't necessarily extra rules or editions.

Chris
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